brand identity and how visual content helps define it
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brand identity stock photography

Defining Brand Identity

The Problem

If you are marketing for a business in today’s online world, you have probably learnt two important lessons:

  1. you’re much more likely to connect with your target audience, and thus be more successful, if you have a consistent, well-formed brand identity
  2. having a strong visual identity through photography and video is key to that brand identity

This is really simple to say, but for most companies creation of content that is appealing to their target audience, while having a consistent brand identity can be expensive and complicated process.  It involves finding great photography and video that is: representative of the target audience, relevant to the specific brand messages, and royalty free so they can be modified to match the brand identity.

Individual pieces of content work towards defining the overall brand identity as well as being a stand alone piece.  Inconsistencies in the look or personality of a brand identity will likely make the target audience trust the brand less, thereby reducing the success of the brand.

Possible Solutions

The best content engages the target audiences through high quality images and video.  Stock photography sites are the main resource for most organizations to these photographs and videos.  There are a lot of options for stock photography and video. My first stop for amazing stock photography is always Unsplash. Each sites have their pros and cons.  Some of  the pros and cons are:

  • The quality of the photographs and videos may vary quite widely
  • The cost of each download can be quite high for quality photographs and videos
  • The demographics and interests, such as age and fitness and ethnicity, featured are quite limited
  • The videos and photographs are often staged or posed, adding an element of inauthenticity to the content created with them

For organizations targeting multiple ethnic groups, people between the age of 30 and 50, or people that are not representative of society’s standard definitions of ideal beauty and health, the use of stock photography is particularly challenging.  These groups are  underrepresented on stock photography sites.  That makes it difficult to maintain a consistent brand identity for those organizations .

A solution for organizations that cannot find the exact images and videos they need on stock photography sites is to to commission photographers and videographers to create them.  The three resources required to use this solution are having:

  • the budget to regularly hire photographers and videographers,
  • a long-term plan for content that will require photographs and videos, and
  • staff to turn those photographs and videos into content that is tailored to be consistent with the brand identity

This is quite an expensive solution of course, but it would be tailored to meet your specific needs.

Choose A Happy Medium?

It’s not a simple situation to resolve, but it is one that needs to be addressed in the highly competitive world of digital marketing.  Obviously the solution will vary from organization to organization. However for the company that needs to find a tailored solution, but are on a budget, and cannot adjust their target audience, perhaps there is a happy medium between the two options.  The best solution I can think of is to use stock photography sites for campaigns with less significance and impact.  For high significance and impact campaigns, the commission of tailored, customized photography and video would likely be worth high investment of resources.

Have you found a solution that worked for you?  Let us know in the comments.


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